As Texans, we love our trucks.  And auto thieves seem to love them just as much as they have made them (specifically the Ford Pick-Up)  the top most stolen vehicle in all of Texas, according to a report by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). In January of 2016, 530 Ford trucks, including the 150, 250 and 350 models, were stolen in Texas alone. The GM Pick-up came in second with almost 400 stolen. Nationally, the Ford pick-up truck ranks third on the top stolen vehicles list. Investigators with the Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (ABTPA) says the larger Ford 250 are often targeted by human traffickers who strip the seats and use the big space to hoard in as many people as possible.

“ For 23 years the number of vehicles stolen in Texas had been dropping, but that came to halt in 2012. Since then, the number of stolen vehicles has risen every year,” said Bryan Wilson, director of the ABTPA. The ABTPA was established in 1991 to combat vehicle theft and burglary through enforcement, prevention, public information and education initiatives.

Austin police say more than half of all vehicles are stolen because thieves have access to the vehicle’s keys. Although newer vehicles are harder to steal, many drivers still leave their keys in the vehicle or keep their vehicles running outside their home, business or convenient stores. Drivers need to remember to take their keys and not leave their cars running, even on cold mornings.

Here are some tips to apply to help your vehicle from being stolen:

  • Common Sense: Lock your car and take your keys. It’s simple enough, but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.
  • Warning Device: Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.
  • Immobilizing Device:Generally speaking, if your vehicle can’t be started, it can’t be stolen. “Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices that are extremely effective.
  • Tracking Device: A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics,” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

For a complete list of the top stolen cars in the nation, visit: https://www.nicb.org/newsroom/news-releases/hot-wheels-2015-report